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Dive Review of Arenui in

Arenui: "More great diving in Komodo", May, 2015,

by David E Reubush, VA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 66 reports with 34 Helpful votes). Report 8277 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I first dove Komodo in 2009 and had been anxious to get back ever since. When Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock (Secret Sea Visions) advertised a trip to Komodo on the Arenui I signed up right away. We got on the boat in Maumere on the island of Flores and headed west, diving on the way, until we got to the northern reaches of the Komodo National Park and then we headed south until we got to Manta Alley in South Komodo. After Manta Alley we turned north again and ended up in Labuanbajo from which we flew back to Bali. (I will note that, in 2009, the LBJ airport was a shack. Now they have a brand new big, comfortable airport.) Generally, the dives on the north side of Flores were warmer (80F to 85F) while those in the south like Manta Alley were on the cold side (76F). As far as what we saw, the dives were what I expected and more. (The only issue was that the wind blew a lot and there were some sites where the bottom was stirred up such that the viz was very low.) We saw a number of rhinopias, frogfish, various ghost pipefish, a wide variety of scorpionfish, a wonderpus, other octopi (including one reef octopus that decided that it wanted to pose for photographs), pygmy and large cuttlefish, pygmy and large seahorses, lady bugs, a huge variety of nudibranchs, various squid, stargazers, bobbit worms, etc. etc. It was muck diving heaven. I even photographed an eel at one site which was not in any of the identification books. After the trip I persuaded Burt to send the photos to his contacts on the science side of things and it turned out to be a species unknown to science. In addition to all the muck creatures there were sharks and schools of other big fish at both Castle and Crystal Rocks and Manta Alley was amazing. We had mantas at the cleaning stations and mantas feeding in the alley. There were mantas everywhere you looked. We did 2 dives at Manta Alley one morning and then took off for Cannibal Rock. Unfortunately, we were going against a very strong wind which was driving a surface current at about the top speed of the boat. After a couple of hours of rock and roll with almost no progress we gave up and pulled into a sheltered bay and did the final 2 dives of the day there. The next morning the wind had not let up so we gave up on getting to Cannibal Rock and went back to Manta Alley and did 2 more dives. While I was disappointed at not getting to one of Komodo's signature dive sites the dives at Manta Alley more than made up for my disappointment. At the end of the trip we took an afternoon trip to see the Komodo dragons on Rinca. It turns out that the dragons are now a major tourist attraction. As a result, there are lots and lots of tourists, but very few dragons, at least where we went. My initial reaction to the Arenui was negative, but the crew and boat grew on me so that, by the end of the trip, I was much more of a happier camper. My initial reaction was due to a number of things. Every other live-aboard I have ever been on has either loaned you a re-usable bottle to take drinking water back to your cabin or has given you one to keep. Arenui tries to sell you an aluminum bottle for $25. On this trip I was previously at Lembeh Resort and they gave me one to keep at no cost, but I left it in Bali. Fortunately, I had carried a plastic bottle of water with me on the plane so I used it the whole trip. I have not recently been on a live-aboard that charges for beer, especially any live-aboard that charges what Arenui does for their trips. Arenui has 2 types of beer that cost either $3 or $3.50. There is no camera room on Arenui. This trip was filled with photographers so just about every flat surface in the lounge/dining room that was not a dining table was covered with cameras. While less than ideal we all cooperated so that there was always some place to work on your camera. The camera rinse tank is also very small so all your set-up gets is a quick dunk after every dive. The head in my cabin was very small such that there really wasn't space to dry off after a shower. If I had been traveling with my wife moving out into the main part of the cabin to dry off would not have been a problem, but I was sharing a room with another male diver and it was a bit awkward until we worked out showering in shifts. All that said, there are some very positive things about the Arenui that won me over by the end of the trip. Primarily, it was an absolutely great crew. The crew went out of their way to make it a great experience for everyone. For the most part they anticipated what you were going to want/need and had it ready for you. I like to drink iced tea at both breakfast and lunch. Within about a day I no longer had to ask for iced tea, it just showed up. Also, the food on the Arenui was the best I have had on a live-aboard since my first trip to Komodo in 2009. The 2 dive tenders are large, with space for at least 8 tanks for the guests plus tank space for the divemasters. With a capacity of 16 guests they split the guests into groups of 4, each with a divemaster. The first 2 groups of 4 go out and back roll into the water. the first tender then comes back and picks up the 3rd group while the 2nd tender stays at the site. When the 3rd group arrives at the site the 2nd tender comes back for the 4th group. This makes sure that there was always at least one tender at the site in case of an emergency, nobody was crowded in the tenders, and the groups got spaced apart so that there were not all 16 people at the same part of the site at the same time. Having only 4 divers per dive master also made it much easier for all the photographers to have a chance to take photos without too much lost time waiting in line. The divemaster for my group, Ronald, was a student of the late Larry Smith and was great at finding all sorts of hard to spot creatures. I'll travel on the Arenui again.
Websites Arenui   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Australia, Belize, Bimini, Bonaire, Caymans, Curacao, Galapagos, Indonesia (Wakatobi, Raja Ampat, Komodo, Lembeh, Bali, Banda Sea), Philippines, Red Sea, Southern Bahamas, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos
Closest Airport Maumere/Labuanbajo Getting There We flew from Bali to Maumere on Wings and flew back to Bali from LBJ on Garuda. Both were direct flights.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 76-85°F / 24-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 5-100 Ft/ 2-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the divemaster and don't run your tank out of air.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No camera room, small rinse tank for cameras. Flat surfaces in the lounge/dining room that were not used for dining were filled with camera rigs. With cooperation among the guests it worked.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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